Denver CO Oct 31 2011 A thief who tore the pinky finger off a Cherry Creek mall shopper while stealing an iPad was sentenced today to 25 years in prison.
Brandon Smith, 22, apologized to the victim, Bill Jordan, who did not appear in court for the sentencing hearing because he fears for his life.
That is because Smith also tried to solicit someone to kill Jordan so that no witness could testify against him for the theft.
“I would like to say I am sorry for what I did for messing up Bill Jordan’s finger and everything,” Smith said during his hearing. “All of this was motivated by drugs. I wish Bill Jordan were here today so he could hear me tell him I am sorry.”
Smith pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery for the iPad theft, netting himself a 25 year sentence.
He also pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree related to the attempt to have Jordan killed garnering another 12 years in prison. A third robbery charge was also part of the plea agreement and got him an additional four years in prison.
Denver District Judge Edward Bronfin ruled the sentences would run concurrently for a total of 25 years behind bars.
On April 15, 2010, Jordan was headed out of the mall when Smith grabbed onto his shopping bag to take the iPad.
The strings from the bag were wrapped around Jordan’s hand and when Smith pulled on him, he tore away the skin on Jordan’s left hand and the pinky finger had to be amputated.
Prosecutors later learned Smith sent a letter from jail asking a friend to take care of Jordan so that he could not testify against him.
Smith’s sister, Elizabeth, addressed the judge to try to plea for leniency for her brother.
“He didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” she said. “He planned to go to college and finish school but he didn’t make it there.”
But the judge called Smith a danger to the community, citing his juvenile record where he tried to return some stolen shirts at the Park Meadows Mall and threatened employees that he would return with a gun.
“What I have seen is Mr. Smith simply trying to game the system and work things to his advantage,” Bronfin said. “Hopefully the Department of Corrections will give him guidance.”